Thursday, July 23, 2020

2020 CLA Live Auction: TAVERN SMOKER’S COMPANION By Greg Bray

Size:  14” x 5”

Despite the fact that the habit of smoking tobacco has largely fallen out of favor in modern America, the practice was ubiquitous in colonial America. From the drawing rooms of Philadelphia to the farthest reaches of the frontier, “making smoke” crossed the societal bounds of class and culture.

For this year’s CLF fundraising auction, artist Greg Bray has created a truly unique offering for collectors. “It’s a smoker’s companion,” explains Bray, “that would have been found in a tavern or in a home of someone of wealth.” The hand-forged creation is a curious-looking but masterfully-executed example of the blacksmith’s art. The piece is based on original examples made by colonial American blacksmiths, says Bray, which were “free formed, unlike the English versions.”

The implement itself is a pair of spring-loaded tongs with a pipe tamper at the top and a pipe cleaner in the middle that also keeps the tongs aligned. Bray hand-forged the entire piece from mild steel; the finished product is 14 inches long and 5 inches deep. This fine collector’s item is fully functional, but sure to be a one-of-a-kind conversation piece at home or in camp.

Bray, a veteran blacksmith of nearly three decades’ experience, also serves as the executive director of Prickett’s Fort, a West Virginia living history museum that recreates life on the early frontier.  A repeat auction donor, Bray observes that “The CLA is vital in perpetuating the history and the importance of the early craftsmen in the building of our nation. The CLA allows todays modern-era craftsmen and women to be able to have a venue to show their talents and to carry on the traditions of the early craftsmen.”

For more information on the work of Greg Bray, contact the artist directly at:

To see all the Artists' contributions to the 2020 CLF Live Fund Raising Auction, visit our website at

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